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Re: Cage 100

Subject: Re: Cage 100
From: "Bernie Krause" bigchirp1
Date: Fri Sep 7, 2012 11:52 am ((PDT))
Thank you, Kevin.

That Cage labeled field recordings as "found art," only serves to
spotlight his rather narrow perspective from the high-end academic mid-
and late 20th century rarified milieu he lived in. Even though I knew
him fairly well from the mid 50s, and even though his level of
curiosity was remarkably wide-ranging, I never thought of him as a
great naturalist. (For instance, although we were friends, he once
remarked that I was doing violence to animals by recording them. Go
figure the logic of that one!)

The thing he missed in his summary response to the question posed at
LucasFilm in 1989 is that we are all transforming our stuff when we
record. As soon as we decide on a mic system, or a recorder, or a time
and place to record, or the way(s) in which we position our mics
choosing one direction over another, and, finally, which segments of
our long sequences to perform for ourselves or others, we're
transformers of the awesome kind. So it's pretty much a red herring, a
straw man, or the three blind men and the elephant (don't you love
those mammal and fish allusions?) type of discussion. Some of us like
to fuss with their field recording results. Others don't. However, we
mustn't forget that what we sometimes call "nature" is the greatest
fusser of all, where the biophony is always transforming and adjusting
its signals to accommodate for optimal transmission and reception
given environmental conditions of the moment.


On Sep 7, 2012, at 11:06 AM, Kevin Colver wrote:

> Hi Bernie,
> While I've sometimes thought that the recording I do as an art, Cage
> seems to feel it is more of a craft.  If my recordings are "found art"
> it doesn't change the joy I find in making those recordings or
> listening to them again and again.  It is an honor for me to go out
> into the natural world and find the "found art,"  even if the artist
> is one higher than myself.  I'm pleased if I can be considered a good
> craftsman.
> Always great to hear from you.  BTW, I'm slow, but I'm carefully
> reading your book and I absolutely love it all.  Brilliant
> contribution to the field!
> Kevin
>>>>> John Cage had views on many issues re sound, music, and our
>> acoustic
>>>>> world. For instance, his take on natural sound recording: In 1989,
>>>>> at
>>>>> a soundscape conference hosted by Skywalker Sound (LucasFilm),
>> Cage
>>>>> was asked for his impressions of those creating "nature" sound
>>>>> albums
>>>>> who claim to be "purists," meaning they assert that they don't
>> edit.
>>>>> Cage thought for a moment, then responded tersely and rather
>>>>> disparagingly, "Found art," he sniffed. "That's because all true
>>>>> artists know that germane to their respective crafts is
>>>>> transformation: the inspired conversion of sound or image from one
>>>>> medium to another, or ideas from mind to page -- ultimate
>>>>> expressions
>>>>> far more resounding than the sources from which they spring. It is
>>>>> through the process of insurgency that art in any medium obliges
>>>>> insight into the numinous and improbable. Transformation is the
>>>>> key to
>>>>> life and [its expression through] art, the real mystery of
>> creative
>>>>> nature. Attempts to replicate or capture aspects of the natural
>>>>> world
>>>>> without amendment speak clearly to a vision of paralysis and
>> death."
>>>>> Bernie Krause
> ------------------------------------
> "While a picture is worth a thousand words, a
> sound is worth a thousand pictures." R. Murray Schafer via Bernie
> Krause.
> Yahoo! Groups Links

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Glen Ellen, CA 95442

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